During my highly visible role as diversity and inclusion director at two Fortune 500 companies, I wrote internal articles, often when bias was a factor, read by people across the globe. I also had to make difficult decisions, sometimes with potentially significant financial consequences, for the organization. Following is a major decision I made and the national fallout in one company. That’s followed by a few responses I received in response to internal articles I wrote. Note that topics of sexual orientation or Islam/Muslims seemed to generate these messages to me:
What we are facing in the United States, and really throughout the world, is a crisis in consciousness, a clash of value systems. Values are that which one believes. Values are the impetus for thoughts, attitudes, and actions and yet we seldom have conversations about the underlying reasons for the actions and cultures. It was over 20 years ago that Paul H. Ray created a platform to gather information as to the values held by the citizens within the U.S. This research study, which has been repeated several times, hold some key information to conversations around the problems being seen.
After over 21 years of working in an office, I finally had the opportunity to take a leap of faith to work from home. Many people have questioned me about the move, and how I am fairing. My response is simple: “It is a game changer.”
Like many Americans, I’ve spent a majority of my working life in a brick and mortar office. On a typical morning, I would take a quick shower, eat a hurried breakfast, and dash to my car in a futile attempt to beat the traffic. I have been in the law practice for 21 years, most of which were spent living and working in Washington, D.C.- a city notorious for its congestion. After a move to Baltimore, I continued to commute to D.C. for seven excruciating years.
NOTE: Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press.
There’s a spotlight today on the women attempting to transform longtime invisibility into success, money, and power. How’s that working for us? There’s been a disappointing 25% decrease in the number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 in the past year. Several corporate women CEOs earn as much, and sometimes more, than their male counterparts including Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, Debra Cafaro, CEO of real estate investment trust Ventas, and Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. Unfortunately, women make up only 5% of CEOs in the Fortune 500. Astonishingly, only one Fortune 500 company has both a woman CEO and a woman chair of its Board of Directors. Just one.
When Jessica’s father bought her a one-way ticket to the States from Guatemala when she was 25, that was his way of saying, “I believe in you, hija, and I expect you to truly ‘be ‘somebody’.’” Now go do it.
When I considered doing an article on the iconic Greenpeace movement which started much of our environmental activism, I thought it would be an intellectual and historical project. But, my 92-year old Aunt Polly informed that my Green-ness runs in the family, that Greenpeace is just a cousin away and that includes one of the movement’s matriarchs.
In case you missed it, we just marked the 55th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This begs the question: is gender-based wage discrimination still a persistent problem in the 21st century workplace?
Many men might say no. However, it’s a different story for most women. The Equal Pay Act was passed by Congress and signed by President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in the White House Oval Office surrounded by working women.
The Equal Pay Act “affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force, they will find equality in their pay envelope,” said JFK in signing the landmark law.
But if you think pay inequity is a relic, just take a look at the gaping disparity of salaries for men and women in the same or similar jobs inside and outside the C-suite.
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have been inspiring. However, outside of legal confrontations and public humiliations, little is being done to ensure this behavior will stop happening and that the glass ceiling obstacles that have been in place for the last 4 decades, are removed once and for all.
As a woman who struggled up the “ladder” while raising children, I have decided to be a catalyst for real change by serving professional women on a full-time basis as a professional business coach, trainer and speaker. As a result, I have reflected on the role of women in today’s world and have some observations and some “Mother’s Day Resolutions” to share and ask you to share these resolutions with others.
Inspired by the response to my article, 2018 Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs and How to Overcome Them, I initiated this series called, How to Grow as an Entrepreneur. I talk to Leading and Inspiring Women all over the world to Raise Awareness among Women and ask them if they are ready to Pass the Baton on to aspiring entrepreneurs!
Lynda Spiegel is an Awesome Mom of two and the Founder of Rising Star Resumes that provides job search strategies, resume, cover letter advice, and LinkedIn profile keyword optimization. She is an author of frequent articles on The Wall Street Journal Experts Blog, LinkedIn Pulse, CornerstoneOnDemand, and Talent Culture Blogs.
Over the years, I’ve attended press conferences, graduations, receptions, and concerts at Volkswagen Chattanooga’s conference center, but I’ve never before seen it decorated entirely in pink. The event was the first ever Volkswagen Women Who Rock Awards Brunch. After having my picture taken in the photo booth wearing a pink Volkswagen hard hat, I meandered through the crowd waiting to hear from the keynote speaker, Julie Baumgardner, CEO and Founder of Chattanooga’s family oriented nonprofit, First Things First.
We watched profiles of the award nominees on the overhead screens as we listened to each of their favorite songs. It was a musical lesson in diversity. True to Volkswagen’s techie mindset, the playlist could be downloaded on Spotify. After much munching and brunching, we were brought to attention by Shireena Avery, the Volkswagen Diversity Sponsor to the featured Employee Resource Groups (ERG). The Women Who Rock program got underway with Megan Herndon, President of Volkswagen’s Women in Motion ERG.